The students ate my homework: A narrative and reflexive exploration of the intersection of personal history and pedagogical decisions made when introducing therapeutic recreation students to the healing power of plants
The purpose of this paper is to narratively and reflexively explore pedagogical decisions made while incorporating gardening instruction into a therapeutic recreation course that I teach to undergraduate students. My aim in doing this inquiry was to gain and share a better understanding of the intersections of my personal history, educational experiences, and professional training on curricular decisions and professional practice. This paper documents my efforts to create an experiential and supportive garden classroom to promote students' understanding of the healing power of plants. Using reflexive praxis and narrative inquiry, this paper explores the utilization of gardens and gardening as a teaching space in a course entitled, Therapeutic Recreation in Outdoor Settings. Five thematic and metaphoric threads emerged from the data: 1) Fertile Ground, Family, and Friluftsliv, 2) Planting the Seeds Farm and Wilderness, 3) Soil Amendments Summer Camp and Outdoor Education Leadership Training, 4) Weeding the Forest for the Trees, and 5) Harvesting the Students Eating My Homework and the Pedagogy of Therapeutic Plants. Reflection and analysis revealed that lived field experiences in the garden easily and naturally facilitated students' learning about, attachment to, and intent to involve plants in their professional practice as certified therapeutic recreation specialists.
Loeffler, T.A. (2019). The students ate my homework: A narrative and reflexive exploration of the intersection of personal history and pedagogical decisions made when introducing therapeutic recreation students to the healing power of plants. Acta Hortic. 1246, 57-66
narrative, pedagogy, plants, therapeutic recreation, Friluftsliv